WSV Blog: Runge raus!

Haven’t really said much about Wuppertal recently, since the news almost always sucks. That’s what happens when you are bound at the hip by a crap club like I am…

Another miserable performance and expectations of another worthless winterbreak. But this time, it really happened: Runge ist raus!

Friedhelm Runge has been president of WSV for about 20 years, and has been the patron of the club. While he obviously is no Dietmar Hopp, Runge has invested a lot of his personal fortune into the club (I think he owns some industrial locks company). In fact, a few years ago the club was bankrupt, so he covered the debts from his personal account. You can’t accuse him of not being loyal to the club.

So you would think that the fans would be grateful, but for from it. Runge’s “Reign of Error” has seen WSV basically collapse as a viable contender, and the attendance has plummeted. He seems to have antagonized other potential sponsors – or at least his detractors say. In any case, as the club has continued to sink, he’s come under continued massive criticism, and after threatening over the years, finally decided to step down. Now the club is in chaotic financial state, so we’ll have to see what happens. If the club survives, it will probably be a good thing, at least if it establishes itself as a true fan/member run club again.

The club owes Runge some 2.5 million euros in loans, but the terms require repayment only when the club is in the black. So no crisis there. The new leadership estimates that the club is covered through March 31st, and appears confident that additional funds will allow WSV to avoid bankruptcy.

The whole story illustrates that although German football clubs don’t have individual owners, so you can’t have some wanker buy the club as a personal toy like in the EPL, money still has a way of influencing the club and giving these guys too much power.

As far as winter training is concerned, WSV has been playing “test” matches against a variety of clubs. 1-1 at Elversberg (Regionalliga Sud leader), 0-1 against Stuttgarter Kickers (3.Liga) and a few others. Ho hum…

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